How very lucky for us that Duck-Rabbit was brewing on Friday, and accepted us as visitors! This crude-on-the-outside building on the edge of town is a sparkling vision on the inside. The smell of brewing came wafting out the doors, and it was fabulous to meet the friendly guys inside.
Paul (the owner and head brewer) and Ken (the self-described crazy homebrewer and right-hand man) are masters of the craft and extremely personable guys. They run a great operation, and focus on dark beers. Paul is a philosopher (formerly a professor, if I understood correctly), and Siebel graduate. He’s been brewing for 20 years, and worked in Cincinnati and Louisville (Pipkin – now defunct) before opening this facility with a 20-barrel brew kettle.
They can’t sell on the premisis, but pointed us in the direction to where we could purchase Duck-Rabbit products. But we were offered tastings of the four standard brews. Here are a few (brief) impressions:
- * Amber – good tasting American amber; high in carbonation
- * Porter – really enjoyable; dark, roasty and a smooth oiliness in the mouthfeel
- * Brown Ale – my favorite of all the ales; full hoppy flavor – made with Amarillo (YUM!) and Saaz hops, it had a fabulous aroma and equally pleasing flavor; not an English Brown, but a hopped-up good ol’ American brown
- * Milk Stout – the subtle sweetness of this stout gave it a bright, lively flavor
We learned that the Brown Ale is made with a process called First Wort Hopping (FWH), which was a new concept to both of us. It raises the IBU’s without creating an overpowering hop aroma or bitterness, resulting in a more balanced beer. Perhaps that is the other reason I liked it so much.
We also learned about the seasonals: Barleywine (made with 95% Amarillo hops) in the winter, Rabid Duck Imperial Stout in the spring, Wee Heavy Scotch Style Ale in the summer and Baltic Porter in the fall.
I hope to get photos up as soon as we get home…we’ll see if that happens!